Entertainment Spotlight

  • Catching Up: Santana, Taj Mahal and a déjà vu ‘Blue Christmas’

    Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

    By Ben Fong-Torres It’s short shrift time. I have a life that’s ripe (and slightly wrinkled) for blogs and tweeting; for facebooking and updating. I’m just no good at it. My last column here on AsianConnections was about the memorial in late July for my sister Shirley. My last posting on the authors’ site, Redroom, was about a radio promo tour I did (20 stops, all on the phone...

Congratulations to Asian American International Film Festival '12 Award Winners

Lia Chang

The Asian American International Film Festival handed out the 2012 Awards for feature and short films before the closing night screening of Michael Kang’s Knots, at the Clearview Chelsea Cinemas in New York on August 5, 2012. The awards ceremony was emceed by spoken word artist Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai.

Knots director Michael Kang and writer and star Kimberly-Rose Wolter at the 35th Asian American International Film Festival Closing night screening of Knots, at the Clearview Chelsea Cinema in New York on August 5, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

Knots director Michael Kang and writer and star Kimberly-Rose Wolter at the 35th Asian American International Film Festival Closing night screening of Knots, at the Clearview Chelsea Cinema in New York on August 5, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

This year, the Asian American International Film Festival, presented by Asian Cinevision (ACV), featured 50 New York premieres-narrative and documentary features, and shorts-of all genres from The Philippines, Taiwan, China, Japan, Korea, UK, Canada and across the Asian Diaspora.

Presenter Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai, a spoken word artist, presents the AAIFF Audience Choice Award for Narrative Feature to Lily Mariye for Model Minority at the Clearview Chelsea Cinemas in New York on August 5, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

Presenter Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai, a spoken word artist, presents the AAIFF Audience Choice Award for Narrative Feature to Lily Mariye for Model Minority at the Clearview Chelsea Cinemas in New York on August 5, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

Audience Choice Awards:

Lily Mariye's Model Minority (photo courtesy of Nice Girl Films)

Lily Mariye’s Model Minority (photo courtesy of Nice Girl Films)


The Audience Choice Award for Narrative Feature was presented to Lily Mariye, an actor, screenwriter and director, whose impressive debut feature MODEL MINORITY, follows the story of L.A. teenagers trying to navigate the treacherous world of peer pressure, drug dealers, juvenile hall and dysfunctional families.

Delon De Metz, Nichole Bloom, Lily Mariye and Chris Tashima at the 35th Asian American International Film Festival screening of Model Minority, at the Clearview Chelsea Cinemas in New York on August 4, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

Delon De Metz, Nichole Bloom, Lily Mariye and Chris Tashima at the 35th Asian American International Film Festival screening of Model Minority, at the Clearview Chelsea Cinemas in New York on August 4, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

The film stars Nichole Bloom as Kayla, an underprivileged Japanese American girl with a drug addict mom (Jessica Tuck) and an alcoholic dad (Chris Tashima), who endangers her promising future as an artist when she becomes involved with a drug dealer (Delon De Metz). Laura Innes, Helen Slater, Takayo Fisher, Courtney Mun and Marc Anthony Samuel are also featured, along with music by three-time Grammy nominee, saxophonist Boney James.

A Model Minority team: Three-time Grammy nominee, saxophonist Boney James shows off his wife’s Audience Choice Award for Narrative Feature for Model Minority, at the 35th Asian American International Film Festival, at the Clearview Chelsea Cinemas in New York on August 5, 2012. Mariye, wrote, directed and shares producing credits with James, whose music is featured on the soundtrack. Photo by Lia Chang

A Model Minority team: Three-time Grammy nominee, saxophonist Boney James shows off his wife’s Audience Choice Award for Narrative Feature for Model Minority, at the 35th Asian American International Film Festival, at the Clearview Chelsea Cinemas in New York on August 5, 2012. Mariye, wrote, directed and shares producing credits with James, whose music is featured on the soundtrack. Photo by Lia Chang

The film recently garnered three awards at its World Premiere at the 2012 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival: Special Jury Outstanding Director, Breakthrough Performance by a New Actor for Nichole Bloom, and Outstanding Cinematography. AAIFF’12: Lily Mariye’s Model Minority, starring Jessica Tuck, Nichole Bloom, Chris Tashima, Helen Slater, Laura Innes and Takayo Fisher, screens at Clearview Chelsea Cinemas

Fire in Our Hearts director Jayshree Janu Kharpade

Fire in Our Hearts director Jayshree Janu Kharpade


The One to Watch Award was presented to director Jayshree Janu Kharpade for her short film FIRE IN OUR HEARTS. Eligible films were screened in the shorts programFOR YOUTH BY YOUTH, written and directed by talented youths between the ages of 15 and 20. FIRE IN OUR HEARTS is an autobiographical film written and directed by a 15-year-old schoolgirl, Jayshree Janu Kharpade, who was born to an indigenous family (aka tribals) that have been disenfranchised at the very bottom of India’s poverty ladder. With a strong courage to learn and conviction to give back to others, Jayshree documents her family and village, as well as the tenacious efforts of the tribal union for the equal rights to education, thanks to which she is able to attend a school for tribal girls.

The Audience Choice Award for Documentary Feature was presented to A LOT LIKE YOU, directed by Eliaichi Kimaro. Tender, intellectual, and reflective, director/writer Eliaichi Kimaro explores her intricate identity as a Tanzanian-Korean mixed-race, first-generation American in her award-winning documentary. A LOT LIKE YOU lodges a personal lens to the perception of postcolonial and immigrant histories, confidently and sincerely bringing out the conversation between the individual, family and culture.

Señorita

Señorita


The Emerging Director Award for Narrative Feature was awarded to director Vincent Sandoval for his film SEÑORITA. Sandoval is also the co-screenwriter, co-producer, and leading actor in the film. Wanting to quit sex work in Manila and start a new life, Sofia, a transgender woman, reinvents herself as Donna in the small town of Talisay to look after her friend’s son. But her past soon catches up with her when she gets involved in the complex politics of a local election, and her two lives cannot be kept apart. Other films nominated for this award were MODEL MINORITY (dir. Lily Mariye), PEARLS OF THE FAR EAST(dir. Cuong Ngo), SHANGHAI CALLING (dir. Daniel Hsia) and VIETTE (dir. Mye Hoang).

The jurors for The Emerging Director Award for Narrative Feature award included film critic John Anderson, executive director of Film Society of Lincoln Center Rose Kuo and award winning Art Director Wing Lee.

My Spiritual Medicine

My Spiritual Medicine

The Excellence in Short Filmmaking Award was awarded to MY SPIRITUAL MEDICINE, directed by Liang Cheng. Actor Takahiro Morooka accepted the award on behalf of director Liang Cheng. Two white-collar clerks set up a private radio program in bustling Shanghai. An Otaku lady lives in isolation. As the random fates of individuals are linked and changed by the radio wave, love, in all possible forms, burgeons. Other films nominated for this award were HOW TO EAT YOUR APPLE (dir. Erick Oh),ONCE (dir. Jie Chen), SHANGHAI LOVE MARKET (dir. Craig Rosenthal) andTHE LAST MARBLE (dir. Manjari Makijany).

AAIFF'12 awards presenter Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai and actor Takahiro Morooka, who accepted the award for My Spirtual Medicine on behalf of director Liang Cheng. Photo by Lia Chang

AAIFF’12 awards presenter Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai and actor Takahiro Morooka, who accepted the award for My Spirtual Medicine on behalf of director Liang Cheng. Photo by Lia Chang


The jurors for The Excellence in Short Filmmaking Award included award-winning filmmaker Buboo Jakobsson, actor Ken Leung and film distributor Cindi Rowell.

The screening of Knots was followed by a luau-themed afterparty at DUO Lounge.

Check back for my exclusive interviews with Model Minorityactor Chris Tashima, an academy award-winning filmmaker for Visas and Virtues, and Jodi Long, who is currently appearing on “Sullivan and Son” with Steve Byrne.

Jodi Long, a filmmaker and actor, who is currently appearing on Sullivan and Son with Steve Byrne, at the 35th Asian American International Film Festival, at the Clearview Chelsea Cinemas in New York on August 4, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

Jodi Long, a filmmaker and actor, who is currently appearing on Sullivan and Son with Steve Byrne, at the 35th Asian American International Film Festival, at the Clearview Chelsea Cinemas in New York on August 4, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

 

 Lia Chang and Chris Tashima at DUO Lounge in New York on August 5, 2012. Photo by June Jee

Lia Chang and Chris Tashima at DUO Lounge in New York on August 5, 2012. Photo by June Jee


In addition, I will be posting a slideshow of my 35th Asian American International Film Festival coverage of Lily Mariye’s Model Minority; Richard Wong’s and H.P. Mendoza’s Yes, We’re Open; Michael Kang’s Knots; and Simon Yin’s$upercapitalist, written, produced and starring Derek Ting, Linus Roache, Michael Park, Kenneth Tsang, Richard Ng and Kathy Uyen, which kicks off its theatrical release at Village East Cinema on August 10, 2012.

Supercapitalist producer Joyce Yung, Jane Ann Valentine, Knots writer and star Kimberly-Rose Wolter, Knots director Michael Kang, Pun Bandhu, Derek Ting, writer, producer and star of Supercapitalist at the 35th Asian American International Film Festival screening of Knots, at the Clearview Chelsea Cinemas in New York on August 5, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

Supercapitalist producer Joyce Yung, Jane Ann Valentine, Knots writer and star Kimberly-Rose Wolter, Knots director Michael Kang, Pun Bandhu, Derek Ting, writer, producer and star of Supercapitalist at the 35th Asian American International Film Festival screening of Knots, at the Clearview Chelsea Cinemas in New York on August 5, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

$UPERCAPITALIST starring Derek Ting, Linus Roache, Michael Park, Kenneth Tsang, Richard Ng and Kathy Uyen is the AAIFF’12 Centerpiece Presentation on July 28, 2012; opens in U.S.Theaters in August

Kerry McCrohan, Richard Wong, H. P. Mendoza and Theresa Navarro after the screening of Yes, We’re Open at the 35th Asian American International Film Festival, at the Clearview Chelsea Cinemas in New York on August 4, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

Kerry McCrohan, Richard Wong, H. P. Mendoza and Theresa Navarro after the screening of Yes, We’re Open at the 35th Asian American International Film Festival, at the Clearview Chelsea Cinemas in New York on August 4, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

Sponsors 
The 35th Asian American International Film Festival is made possible with public funds from the National Endowment for The Arts, by the New York State Council on The Arts, with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. Special Support is provided by Macy’s, Wells Fargo, AARP, Woo Creative, Art Works, NYCulture, AMP Viacom, and the many friends of ACV.

John Woo, Executive Director of ACV, June Jee, Knots writer and star Kimberly-Rose Wolter, director Michael Kang and actor Yoko Honjo; Beth Rosenthal Finkel, MSW Senior Manager, AARP, Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai, David Kim, Vice President for Multicultural Markets and Engagement, AARP, and Model Minority actor Chris Tashima, at the 35th Asian American International Film Festival closing night screening of Knots at the Clearview Chelsea Cinemas in New York on August 5, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

John Woo, Executive Director of ACV, June Jee, Knots writer and star Kimberly-Rose Wolter, director Michael Kang and actor Yoko Honjo; Beth Rosenthal Finkel, MSW Senior Manager, AARP, Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai, David Kim, Vice President for Multicultural Markets and Engagement, AARP, and Model Minority actor Chris Tashima, at the 35th Asian American International Film Festival closing night screening of Knots at the Clearview Chelsea Cinemas in New York on August 5, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang


“AARP is proud to sponsor the Asian American American International Film Festival because it is important for us to increase the awareness, relevance and engagement of the 50+ and their families in the Asian Communities,” shared David Kim, Vice President for Multicultural Markets and Engagement, AARP. “One of the ways we do this is to have a presence in the Asian American community to let people know that we want to support through our outreach efforts, the Asian American communities on a consistent and long term basis.”

 J.P. Chan, writer/director of the recently wrapped A Picture of You, is flanked by his castmembers Jodi Long, who can currently be seen on Sullivan and Son, and Jo Mei, at the 35th Asian American International Film Festival, at the Clearview Chelsea Cinemas in New York on August 4, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang


J.P. Chan, writer/director of the recently wrapped A Picture of You, is flanked by his castmembers Jodi Long, who can currently be seen on Sullivan and Son, and Jo Mei, at the 35th Asian American International Film Festival, at the Clearview Chelsea Cinemas in New York on August 4, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

The Asian American International Film Festival (AAIFF) is produced by Asian CineVision (ACV), a nonprofit media arts organization devoted to the development, promotion and preservation of Asian and Asian American film and video. AAIFF is the nation’s longest-running festival of its kind and a leading showcase for the best in independent Asian and Asian American film and video.

Johnny Loves Dolores filmmaker Clarissa De Los Reyes, Andrew Eisenman, Bing Magtoto and Steven Payne at the Clearview Chelsea Cinemas in New York on August 4, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

Johnny Loves Dolores filmmaker Clarissa De Los Reyes, Andrew Eisenman, Bing Magtoto and Steven Payne at the Clearview Chelsea Cinemas in New York on August 4, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang


About Asian CineVision & AAIFF
For more information on the 35th Annual Asian American International Film Festival, please visit http://www.asiancinevision.org/aaiff/.


Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang. Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography

Lia Chang. Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography


Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist.